Canyoneering is not a new sport; it has been around for decades. It has, however, enjoyed a tremendous surge in popularity over the past several years. Unfortunately, many of the people who are discovering this exciting sport remain unaware of the inherent risks and the complex technical skills required to enjoy it safely. The rope skills learned from rock climbing and rappelling are a good start, but will prove to be inefficient, and sometimes dangerous, in an aquatic or semi-aquatic canyon environment.

Since 1999, the American Canyoneering Association (ACA) has been the premier source for training, technical information and services for recreational canyoneers, canyon leaders, guides and rescue professionals in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia and around the globe.

The ACA Curriculum

The ACA established a standard training curriculum, developed by three of the most experienced canyoneers on the planet - Rich Carlson, Dave Black and Charly Oliver. The curriculum follows a series of Skills Checklists and represents the most comprehensive technical training available, designed to enhance safety, efficiency and enjoyment for canyoneers of all experience levels.

Level 1 - Intro to Canyoneering

Intro to Canyoneering provides students with the basic personal canyoneering skills needed to descend easy canyons as team members with competent leaders and mentors.

Level 2 - Technical Canyoneering

Technical Canyoneering provides students with the intermediate anchor, rigging and on-rope skills needed to become contributing team members with competent leaders and mentors.

Level 3 - Advanced Canyoneering

Advanced Canyoneering provides students with the advanced rigging skills needed to become effective problem-solvers for a team of canyoneers.

Level 4 - Canyon Rescue

       Canyon Rescue provides students with companion rescue skills needed to become
self sufficient problem-solvers for most canyon problems.

Seek instruction from ACA Guides/Instructors who follow the ACA Curriculum to learn skills from the ACA's Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 Skills Checklists. Get out and descend canyons. Lots of canyons. Practice your skills. The key to becoming a good leader or guide is to become accomplished in the sport.

You will find many courses, workshops and practice sessions (many of them free) listed on the ACA Canyoneering Meetup Group.

What people are saying …

"Maybe I shouldn't say this since I'm planning to take more courses in the future, but your fees are too low. I learned more in three days than I have in my first six years of canyoneering with friends. The course is worth at least twice what you are charging. Kudos."

May 28, 2015

"Rich Carlson could be considered the father of American canyoneering because of his influence on style, technique, and ethics. In 1999 Carlson established the American Canyoneering Association to promote safety, responsibility, and ethics in American canyoneering. Rich and the ACA have been critical factors in building national standards that have become the cornerstone of canyoneering at the recreational and professional levels throughout the Americas." --Dave Black

May 28, 2015

"Thank you to Rich and the rest of the group for sharing all your knowledge with me and taking the extra time to help me get up to speed with the rest of the class. Even if I only remember a fraction of what I learned it will be worth every minute in the class."

May 28, 2015

"Awesome group Rich, cant wait to learn more from you once I get down perfect everything you taught us. It was an amazingly well digested canyoneering course that makes you want to go back for more."

May 28, 2015

"This course will easily become the standard by which any other canyoneering course will be judged. It was amazing that the professional mountaineering guides found a lot to learn, but the pace was such that a neophyte like me could also pick things up quickly."

May 28, 2015

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